Kingdom out to reclaim lost client base

Dumisani Ndlela



BANKER Nigel Chanakira has bounced back as group chief executive officer of Kingdom Financial Holdings Ltd (KFHL), a key move in the institution’s

battle for depositors who took flight to older banks at the height of the banking crisis in 2004.


Businessdigest is informed that Chanakira’s comeback to KFHL had been at the behest of key institutional investors who recently injected $1,5 trillion to strengthen the financial institution’s balance sheet in preparation for a major transformation.


Chanakira’s appointment has already received regulatory approval from the central bank and the banker is expected to assume his role as CEO on August 1.


Chanakira will oversee the institution’s transformation, expected to result in a significant recovery of its lost client base.


Market analysts said the appointment of Chanakira, who quit his executive post on the KFHL’s board in 2004, but subsequently shored up his stake in the group three-fold to 30%, signalled the institution’s intention to compete head-on with old rivals who benefited immensely from the flight of deposits from locally-owned banking institutions to foreign-owned banks after at least 10 indigenous banks collapsed due to a liquidity crunch two years ago.


Chanakira confirmed he had bounced back and would assume the role of group CEO with effect from August 1.


Shareholders, he said, had resolved his identity would give value to the group he founded 10 years ago.


“I’m back as CEO; it’s good for confidence,” Chanakira said.


He said KFHL was now on a rebuilding exercise and would work aggressively to reclaim the market share lost to the bigger banks.


“I want 10% of that market between now and December,” said Chanakira.

Chanakira founded Kingdom in November 1994, and was the CEO and executive director on the KFHL and most subsidiary companies’ boards between that time and December 2001.


He became executive deputy chairman of KFHL in January 2002 and quit in November 2004 to become a non-executive director in January 2005.


KFHL’s commercial banking subsidiary controlled a 15% market share before the country’s financial crisis, but this had plumbed unprecedented depths, touching a low of about 1%.


“We’re consolidating and coming back with a vengeance,” said Chanakira. “The efforts of good service we were rewarded with were killed off because of errant banks and a loss of confidence in indigenous banks.


“We had a clean bill of health but were penalised by the flight to safety,” said Chanakira.